Home » Excerpts » Why Inner Hatred Is Worse Than Outer Enemies

If we truly realise
how our defilements defile us,
would we remain defiled?

– Stonepeace

‘The destructive effects of hatred are very visible, very obvious and immediate. For example, when a very strong or forceful thought of hatred arises within you, at that very instant, it totally overwhelms you and destroys your peace of mind; your presence of mind disappears completely. When such intense anger and hatred arises, it obliterates the best part of your brain, which is the ability to judge between right and wrong and the long-term and short-term consequences of your actions. Your power of judgment becomes totally inoperable; it can no longer function. It is almost like you have become insane. So, this anger and hatred tends to throw you into a state of confusion, which just serves to make your problems and difficulties so much worse.

‘Even at the physical level, hatred brings about a very ugly unpleasant physical transformation of the individual. At the very instant when strong feelings of anger or hatred arise, no matter how hard the person tries to pretend or adopt a dignified pose, it is very obvious that the person’s face looks contorted and ugly. There is a very unpleasant expression, and the person gives out a very hostile vibration. Other people can sense it. It is almost as if they can feel steam coming out of that person’s body. So much so, that not only are human beings capable of sensing it, but even animals, pets, would try to avoid the person at that instant. Also, when a person harbors hateful thoughts, they tend to collect inside the person, and this can cause things like loss of appetite, loss of sleep, and certainly make the person feel more tense and uptight.

‘For reasons such as these, hatred is compared to an enemy. This internal enemy, this inner enemy, has no other function than causing us harm. It is our true enemy, our ultimate enemy. It has no other function than simply destroying us, both in the immediate term and in the long term. This is very different from an ordinary enemy. Although an ordinary enemy, a person whom we regard as an enemy, may engage in activities that are harmful to us, at least he or she has other functions; that person has got to eat, and that person has got to sleep. So he or she has many other functions and therefore cannot devote twenty-four hours a day of his or her existence to this project of destroying us. On the other hand, hatred has no other function, no other purpose, than destroying us. So, by realising this fact, we should resolve that we will never give an opportunity for this enemy, hatred, to arise within us.’

The Art of Happiness
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Howard Cutler
Get it at Amazon

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